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Missile Defense, Arms Control, and Deterrence: A New Strategic Framework

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Publication Date: October 2001

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21057

Topic: Military and defense (Military policy)

Coverage: Russia (Federation)


The Bush Administration has argued that a "new strategic framework" should shape the U.S. relationship with Russia. The Administration states that the United States no longer faces the threat of global nuclear war, and must instead respond to emerging threats. In this environment, it argues, the United States must rely on both offensive and defensive weapons to deter and repel attacks. The Administration maintains that Russia is no longer an enemy, so the United States and Russia need not rely on formal arms control agreements to manage the nuclear balance. Each can reduce its forces unilaterally and alter its forces according to its own needs. Most critics doubt that the United States and Russia can manage their relationship without formal arms control. They also argue that the Administration's plans for missile defense could undermine the U.S. relationship with Russia and upset international stability.